If you consistently feel pain on the top of the head it is known as vertex pain (top of the head pain). This Type of headache can be associated with many different conditions. If you have experienced this type of pain you know that it is not only painful but is a weird feeling. Some people experience the feeling of their head being “too heavy”.
Head pain that is felt on the top of the head can be perplexing. The top of the head has only a few muscles and nerves. However, tight neck muscles at the base of the skull can refer pain to the top of the head. Also, if the muscles on the top of the head become spastic they can recreate this type of pain. In the following article, we will discuss some common conditions that Americans experience and then we will talk about a little known procedure called upper cervical chiropractic and how neck injury can be the underlying cause of many of these conditions.
Here is a quick video that explains what upper cervical chiropractic is and how it can help a variety of conditions.
Migraine Headache – About 15-20 percent of migraine suffers experience pain on the top of their head.
Tension Headaches –Tension Headaches are much less severe than migraine. However about 40 percent of people complain about a tension headache in any given year. Tension headache sufferers commonly report pain or a heavy feeling at the top of the head.
Cervicogenic Headache – This is believed to be a headache that originates in the cervical spine. Most likely these headaches are caused by joints in the neck that are injured and misaligned from neck injury that cause muscle tightness and headache pain. Often times cervicogenic headaches can be located at the top of the skull.
Provoked By Exercise- Many people experience headaches following exertion. And oftentimes exertion headaches are felt on the top of the head.
Hypnic (brought on by sleeping posture) –Headaches that happen during sleep are known as hypnic headaches. These headaches can be brought on due to structural problems in the spine that are exacerbated by sleeping positions. Oftentimes these individuals feel pain at the top of the head and are woken up at the same time during the night.
Insomnia – When people don’t get enough rest and deprive themselves of sleep, it can lead to a headache on top of the head.
Ponytail – About 10 percent of women who tie their hair in a ponytail will experience pain on top of their heads. This is due to traction from the ponytail on the scalp and the muscles reacting to the stress.
Cluster Headache– These headaches usually cause watery eyes and pain behind the eyes but also can cause pain on the top of the head.
Whiplash – Headaches due to whiplash can be located in various areas, including the top of the head. Injury to the neck joints and neck muscles can cause referred pain.
Many symptoms, diseases and syndromes can all be tied back to the upper cervical spine. Pain at the top of the head can be one symptom that results from upper cervical spine injury. The head weighs 10-13 pounds and the top vertebrae weighs 2 ounces. Because of this bio-mechanical relationship, the head neck junction is the most unstable junction in the spine. Unfortunately, this are houses the MOST IMPORTANT area of the body called the -brain-stem. The brain-stem controls almost all functions in the body. As a result, an injury that causes the upper cervical spine to misalign can cause brain-stem interference which can result in a multitude of symptoms.
One area in the brain-stem is responsible for postural control. When there is a neck injury the postural muscles throughout the spine become imbalanced which then produces secondary stresses and strains on muscles and nerves in various parts of the body that may be far away from the original source- the neck. Headaches and pain at the top of the head can be caused by an underlying neck injury that occurred years ago. Convectional treatment is symptomatic in nature and does not ask what caused this. It merely treats the effects, symptoms, with pain killers, muscle relaxers etc etc.
Upper Cervical chiropractors run objective neurological tests to determine whether brain-stem irritation exists in the upper cervical spine. Once it is determined that there is a problem affecting the brain stem precise articular (joint) X-rays are taken to determine exactly what direction the misalignment has displaced. Angles are then measured off the problem joint and a precision spinal correction is made. No cracking, popping, or pulling of the neck is done during the correction. It is precise, gentle, and painless. Following the spinal correction, the patient rests in a " recuperation " room to allow the body to relax and " regain" control of its proper spinal position. Follow up care is necessary to ensure progress is accruing. Each visit objective tests are done to determine whether another spinal correction is necessary or not. Overtime as the adjustment holds healing occurs throughout the body. Our adage in upper cervical circles is, " nature needs no help just no interference".
We hope this blog reaches those seeking natural alternative solutions to migraines and other chronic health conditions. Upper cervical chiropractic has one goal- restoration of function. When this is achieved it is possible that a host of health conditions may resolve as a natural byproduct of better body function.
Dr. Hall has been the president of the BLAIR Upper Cervical Chiropractic Society for nine years. He is a BLAIR technique instructor and has been practicing the procedure for 16 years seeing over 9000 patients. Dr. Hall runs two offices, one in Los Angeles the other in Carson.